Certainly Americans associate fried chicken with the "Old South." But it never had, to my knowledge, a racial association. With regard to Kentucky Fried Chicken, my only reaction when it first because a wide-spread and successful enterprise was to wonder why anyone would think that fried chicken from Kentucky in particular was "superior," or exemplary of the best fried chicken. In those days, Harlan Sanders still owned KFC (he's the guy who is represented in the KFC logo), and i later learned his story. He had begun his business selling his product to grocery store owners from the back of his station wagon, and parlayed it through franchising into a major corporation. He sold his business in the 1970s for $76,000,000 US, which is pretty damned good money now, and was an enormous sum more than 30 years ago. And KFC is popular all over the United States, not just in the South; furthermore, it's popular with just about any Americans who are not fanatical vegetarians, without regard to skin color.
Hell, it's popular in Canada, too. But Popeye's is much better, and i suspect has stolen major market share from KFC.